BitCasa First Impression

At the end of february 2013 BitCasa ended it’s beta phase. Until the end of the month there was a 50% discount on the one year membership. So I decided to give it a try and go for it.

BitCasa on the Mac

Over the first days BitCasa was really annoying. Files and folders I tried to copy to the unlimited drive din’t copy at all – even after days. The forums were full of complaints from Windows and Mac users. Meanwhile, after a month it got better. I am able do upload files in a reasonable time.

What annoys me still is that the BitCasa App on the Mac requires administrator rights. That is your user account that you use for uploading files has to have Administrator rights in the machine. This is a real no go!

Bitcasa uses a temporary directory for caching files while uploading them. This directory has more than 40 GB in size on my machine. If you have limited space on your disk because your have a SSD drive for example on a MacBook Air you should definitively have a look at the BitCasa settings and reduce the cache to a reasonable size. Second you should exclude the cache from your Time Machine backups.

For local folders on your harddisk BitCasa does support mirroring them to BitCasa but it doesn’t support mirroring of mapped network drives. Thus you can’t use BitCasa as a backup media for your NAS for example. Because I had some kind of backup in mind when I payed for BitCasa – well that doesn’t work for me now.

Bitcasa on the iPad

On the iPad access to my files required me to log out and in again. After that the folders were accessible but I can’t see any pictures in them. Definitively a serious bug. What I’m missing most in the iOS app is a tree view of my files for navigating and browsing through them. Under the Photos section pictures are accessible by the name of the folder they are stored into. But as I have a structure that always ends in the name of the family member that took the photo all albums have the same names. This is the same with the web interface.

After all

There are some more issues with BitCasa that do annoy me, but I don’t want to elaborate further on this because they just make things worse. To come to a conclusion I’d say for the 50% price reduction BitCasa is OK for me but it wouldn’t for the full price. If you plan to use the unlimited drive and pay for it I recommend testing every single feature that you intend to use out befor paying for the service. Read the BitCasa support forums and see which problems other users have.

 

system is booting in safe mode – directory service repair

Microsoft SBS 2010 is a strong alternative to OS X Server. Pricewise it’s more expensive than OS X Server but it’s a reliable server platform an a viable alternative ot OSX Server especially if you have to host Windows clients too.

Today I had to experience a rough glitch that was easy to fix, but the fix wasn’t obvious.

After rebooting a SBS 2011 Server it booted into directory service repair mode. Ups  – what’s that? Server 2008 R2 somehow goes into Active Directory maintenance mode resulting in the Servers inability to log in via Active Directory accounts. No AD user was able to log in – OMG. A Reboot didn’t fix the problem. The server kept booting into safe mode.

I got the message: System is booting in safe mode – directory service repair

My first reaction was to restore form backup, but the restore failed because of too little disk space on the ESXi 5.1 datastore. So I called a Windows trainer who luckily could help out within minutes!

The fix was quite simple:
1) Log in with a local administrator account. This account is created at installation of the SBS. Hopefully you remember the password.
2) You have to issue the following command: bcdedit /deletevalue safeboot
3) Reboot

There is a Technet Article about this: http://technet.microsoft.com/de-de/library/cc794729(v=ws.10).aspx

There is an article in the VMware Knowledge Base that describes how to get out of this situation fron within the GUI: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2005934

Here is an other article covering the same problem: http://absoblogginlutely.net/2011/03/fixed-server-continually-boots-into-safe-mode/

Puh! After a reboot everything was fine again. I’d almost spend my whole easter reinstalling the server. Sometimes you’d just need to know the right guy!

Happy Easter,

Jens